What to Do If You Want a New Job but You Don’t Want to Leave Your Coworkers Behind


Time to start a new chapter

It’s time. You can feel it. You can’t help thinking how much you’d like a new challenge, a higher level of responsibility, and a greater ability to serve. The main thing keeping you stagnant is your loyalty and attachment to people at your workplace.

Well-meaning friends try to ease your mind by telling you what to think and how to feel. They tell you that you deserve to advance your career. It’s OK to focus on your own professional goals. You don’t owe anything to anyone. You’re free. You shouldn’t feel guilty. Everyone will understand…

But hearing their opinions and advice doesn’t help at all. Intellectually, you know you have full permission to leave and nobody will blame you, but your heart isn’t on the same page. There are some hidden fears that need to come to the surface, so that you can find true reassurance and no longer feel conflicted.

Here are situations I encounter frequently with my clients. Could they be true for you too?

1.     Comfort and attachment

Over the years, you have developed deep relationships on campus. It’s more than teamwork and collaboration. These people have become your family. You are attached to them and they are attached to you. It’s difficult to imagine leaving the nest. How will you live without them?

>>> You don’t have to cut the cord entirely. With technology, it is easier than ever to stay in touch with the people you love. If you have to move away and can’t see them in person, you can still video chat, talk on the phone, view photos on Facebook, and continue to be close emotionally, even if not physically. Fake relationships will dissolve but important ones will not end.

2.     Fear of regret

If you take a new job on a different campus, you may be forced to work with people you don’t like, or who may not like you. What if you left a good place to go to a bad place? What if your desire for a new challenge leads you to a challenge greater than you handle? What if you regret leaving and can’t go back?

>>> Realize it’s just fear talking. You will join a different institutional culture with a different history but you will not be powerless. As long as you take some time to listen, learn, and understand before you try to make changes, you won’t face hostility. By being strategic in your approach, you can build strong relationships and foster a highly collaborative environment. (Click here if you’d like to speak with me about how to do this)

3.     Doubting your leadership abilities

You know how successful you are on your own campus but you’ve heard so many horror stories elsewhere that you doubt your ability to succeed in a different environment. What if the faculty members don’t support your vision? What if you lack influence and can’t be as effective as you are now?  

>>> Here again, it’s time to shift your mindset from fear and powerlessness to empowerment. If your current workplace presents very few challenges, you may feel rusty when it comes to teambuilding, motivation, innovation, and change management. Rusty doesn’t mean weak. Imagine how good it will feel to inspire new people and create an environment in which they can thrive! You have the power to accomplish great things. Don’t sell yourself short. You can do this!

4.     Guilt for abandoning your staff

You wouldn’t bad mouth your institution of course, but in all honesty, it is not the happiest place on earth. You’ve been acting as buffer and protector for your staff and worry about what will happen to them if they get a new supervisor who doesn’t care as much as you do about their wellbeing.

>>> While your level of caring is admirable, it may actually limit people’s potential. You see, if you act as hero and protector, you are unknowingly sending a message to your staff that they are weak and can’t handle things on their own. You rob them of a chance to grow and build confidence. Taking responsibility for your actions is one thing, but having the arrogance to think that people can’t be ok without you is another… Look for ways to empower others and trust in their abilities, instead of keeping them dependent on you.

5.     Difficulty putting yourself first

You take pride in calling yourself a servant leader. You make decisions based on what is best for the institution rather than what is best for you. Leaving your campus means putting your needs ahead of the greater good, and that doesn’t feel good to your soul.

>>> Please realize that if you take a job with a higher level of responsibility, you will most likely be able to have a greater impact on a larger number of people. Today, you are focused on the students your college serves but don’t forget that other students from other colleges are just as worthy. Same goes for the faculty and staff. Being of service isn’t limited to one environment. Bringing your expertise and dedication to a new college is not selfish. It means sharing your gift with more people.

Do you notice how most fears come from being too focused on yourself, your feelings, your insecurities, and your judgements? If instead you decide to focus on service, you will see opportunities more clearly and stop being limited by inner-conflict.

If you read this far, it means it’s time for a new job and you know it. Instead of dealing with doubt and procrastination, I invite you to work with me to remove obstacles and make your job search enjoyable and successful. Click here to schedule a complimentary consultation by phone. I look forward to connecting with you soon.

About the author: Dr. Audrey Reille has empowered thousands of professionals through one-on-one coaching, group coaching, speaking engagements, online courses, and interviews on international telesummits.  Audrey is the go-to coach for leaders in higher education administration. She empowers them to thrive by reducing stress, optimizing strategies, improving professional relationships, and developing a strong and empowered mindset. 

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